Confetti Patent Changes Competitive Landscape

Confetti Patent Changes Competitive Landscape

If you are marketing and producing multi-species liners, make sure you have permission. Dömmen USA just received word it will soon be granted a utility patent on its Red Fox Confetti Garden multi-species cutting liners by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A utility patent protects new inventions, permitting the patent owner to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention for up to 20 years from the date of application without expressed consent. The 20-year term of the patent will run from Dömmen’s utility patent application filing date of November 6, 2008.

This applies to multi-cutting liners with mixed species. An example would be a liner with verbena, petunia and calibrachoa cuttings rooted into a single growth cell. Same-species liners, like three different petunia cuttings rooted together, are not impacted. Rooted cuttings planted together would not be affected either.

What this means for growers and the livegoods supply chain is the multi-species liners must either be Dömmen USA product or licensed by Dömmen USA for use by other companies. Managing Director Perry Wismans is opening negotations with other suppliers of multi-species cutting liners to authorize any of their products covered by the utility patent. One goal in these negotiations is to not disrupt confirmed orders for spring 2011 or create extra costs for growers. Wismans can be reached at p.wismans@redfox.de.

“My goal is for nothing to change for the growers,” Wismans says. “We will charge a small licensing fee from breeder-producers out of the price confirmed so growers don’t hurt. In 2011, it’s important to me growers get what they ordered. We want to protect the legal status of product on the bench. After May has ended, we will negotiate licensing agreements. It’s not a decision we’ll be making in the upcoming weeks.”

The two competing programs that will be the most affected are Selecta’s Trixi Liners and Syngenta’s Kwik Kombos. We contacted representatives of both organizations. While Syngenta is reviewing the public records surrounding the patent application and evaluating its position, Selecta declined to comment at this time. Some liner growers also have multi-cutting programs, including Four Star Greenhouse’s Streamliners and Mast Young Plants’ Designer Liners. Through licensing agreements, Dömmen could receive royalties or fees for other product lines.

In the past, we’ve seen breeders pursue utility patents for unique varieties and breeding processes. Examples include Selecta’s MiniFamous Double calibrachoas and Oglevee’s Double Gem double New Guinea impatiens. Dömmen’s patent is for a process, a “method of producing a horticultural display,” according to USPTO documents. Many in the industry questioned if this process, rooting cuttings from different species into a single growth cell, could be patented. Articles published in Greenhouse Grower and other greenhouse floriculture industry trade publications were cited as proof of concept and significance in Dömmen’s USPTO application.

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52 comments on “Confetti Patent Changes Competitive Landscape

  1. Ridiculous Bill Gates type move. Conquer the plant world and then give your fortune to charity so people hate you less. Egomaniacs! Glad there are plenty more excellent alternative geraniums, poinsettias etc etc than we had with MS Office.

  2. I am not aware of all the requirements for recieving a utility patent, especially time lines of application or first sale date, BUT I do know other producers were selling plants using this same idea BEFORE their 11/6/08 filing date.

  3. What a crock – this reeks of corruption or stupidity on the part of the Patent Office – and nefarious blatant greed on the part of applying for a patent on “multi-breed liners” which have been in production since the Middle Ages!

    I think I’ll apply for a patent for a horizontal variable thickness manual bread slicer. Yup, I’ll call it a BREAD KNIFE !

    It’s compost such as this that obviates the value of the Patent Office.

    Let’s track down the step-by-step process for this bastardization of integrity and honor and hold those responsible accountable!

  4. Here’s a fast solution: stop buying Dummen produced liners. Since they are chasing dollars, hit the with the thing most important to them.

  5. This introduces a whole new level of greed with virtually no input of time or finances. Perhaps Dummen should be boycotted by growers

  6. The patent should have been applied for at inception if they actually started the idea-not after the idea caught on and it became popular. Imagine patenting the idea of square pots now.

  7. I just received a utility patent on producing horticultural products in a climate controlled environment.
    Everyone with a greenhouse — send me $5 NOW!

  8. Oh, oh Dummen. That´s too much.

    First kick Syngenta and Ball in the a** and then begging them to sell your products. Crazy!

  9. Dummen is on a slippery slope here. For growers who serve the mass markets, this is the last thing we need. I think Dummen has forgotten that we as growers have choices. It is a dangerous move on their part.

  10. I doubt Dummen was the first to do this if they have proof show it. Our industry was built on trust and honesty. My advice. Dummen apoligize and retract this corrupt move. Maybe you can repair some of the damage. I dont grow alot of dummen plants but now will do less, probably non. My guess is that many growers will hold them accountable with there purchasing decisions.

  11. Since Dummen seems to have the corner on mixed unrooted cuttings in a single cell, I think I will patent the process of the placement of 3 mixed species rooted cuttings in a basket. Why go after just the big producers? I can collect fees and require licensing from every single greenhouse in the US that produces combo baskets. It’s the American way. Oh, that’s right, Dummen is a German company. Maybe I’ll just get a German utility patent on it, and leave the Americans alone.

  12. Not sure why everyone posting here is so upset about Dummen recieving the patent license. Sounds like alot of jealous people out there in this industry. I must say that this was an unbelievable move by Dummen and I congratulate them!!!

  13. Absolutely obsurd! We have been producing multi-species combos for the last 10 years! Where do they get off thinking they can do that? If it were a unique technical process, it might be different. It would be like trying to patent growing seeds in plugs rather than sowing directly into the pot.

  14. I do not agree with Dummen enforcing this utility patent this season. Product is already in production, orders booked and confirmed. I do think Dummen was smart in getting this utility patent for future seasons.

    I am shocked by the number of industry member comments refering to greed. Since when is making good profits, running a good business, and continually trying to improve your profits a negative!

  15. Jealousy is not a factor here. Despite whether or not customers will see a change in the cost of mixed species liners in 2011, we all know that this fee will eventually be passed along to the end growers in the future. Do you think Ball, Syngenta, and others, are going to absorb this cost themselves out of goodwill towards their customers? There is no way to prevent end growers from having to pay this extra licensing fee on top of the tag, royalties, and marketing fees in the future. This additional cost to multiple cutting liners will be for the futile purpose of filling Dummen’s fat pockets with money that will in no way add value or service to the growers in exchange. If anyone can explain the benefits that the growers will receive, or how this licensing fee will enhance the horticulture industry, I am sure all growers would like to know. At least there are known benefits to paying royalties and marketing fees, even though no one likes to pay them. Our industry is facing a crisis right now. Many little guys and mid-sized growers are being forced out of business. We need to help growers be more profitable, not take money out of their pockets for which they get nothing in return.

  16. I would like to Congratulate Dummen on this Patent.
    It shows a lot of integrity and hard work. This patent is well deserved. Way to go!

  17. Come on! Integegrity’s got nothing to do with it. It’s not a patentable idea. We were planting an assortment of different species in a jumbo pack years ago. It’s simply a differnt way of doing things.

  18. An interesting debate. The reality is that whether or not it’s a “patentable idea” falls directly under the perview of the US Patent Office. One of the great truths in business is that people usually want to sell based on Value, but buy based on Cost. Another truth is that the market has a way of sorting these things out.

  19. It is too easy to comment with such gusto anonymously, isn’t it?

    A little irony here, as I, too, am posting under a nom de plume, Anonymous.

  20. I would like to congradulate Dummen on receiving a patent for the Confetti multi-species liner. I know they put a tremendous amount of research into the development of the product. And for that they should be rewarded. The way I understand it, patents encourage innovation and our industry as well as any other industry should welcome innovation.From someone with experience growing the Confettis, we understand and appreciate the uniqueness and difficulty in producing this type of liner.

  21. Response to Mr. Barnitz: What research? This is the same trial and error process we as growers go through every day and we don’t apply for a patent. A new series, certainly! We have several combos that have taken several seasons to perfect,but we did not invent anything! This is marketing, not invention.

  22. How can a patent examiner approve this process when it has been going on for a while previously? I can’t believe this utility patent was granted! If it were a new concept, it makes sense, but it’s not a new concept.

  23. Dummen does not know it yet, but they have one heck of a problem coming up. They stole this idea from another grower who happens to have a patent on this techinque that is dated a year earlier, but has not been in pending status at the patent office. They can just forward the checks to this grower. Dummen can stop counting their royalty checks and get in touch with their lawyers quickly!

  24. Ridiculous Bill Gates type move. Conquer the plant world and then give your fortune to charity so people hate you less. Egomaniacs! Glad there are plenty more excellent alternative geraniums, poinsettias etc etc than we had with MS Office.

  25. I am not aware of all the requirements for recieving a utility patent, especially time lines of application or first sale date, BUT I do know other producers were selling plants using this same idea BEFORE their 11/6/08 filing date.

  26. What a crock – this reeks of corruption or stupidity on the part of the Patent Office – and nefarious blatant greed on the part of applying for a patent on “multi-breed liners” which have been in production since the Middle Ages!

    I think I’ll apply for a patent for a horizontal variable thickness manual bread slicer. Yup, I’ll call it a BREAD KNIFE !

    It’s compost such as this that obviates the value of the Patent Office.

    Let’s track down the step-by-step process for this bastardization of integrity and honor and hold those responsible accountable!

  27. Here’s a fast solution: stop buying Dummen produced liners. Since they are chasing dollars, hit the with the thing most important to them.

  28. This introduces a whole new level of greed with virtually no input of time or finances. Perhaps Dummen should be boycotted by growers

  29. The patent should have been applied for at inception if they actually started the idea-not after the idea caught on and it became popular. Imagine patenting the idea of square pots now.

  30. I just received a utility patent on producing horticultural products in a climate controlled environment.
    Everyone with a greenhouse — send me $5 NOW!

  31. Oh, oh Dummen. That´s too much.

    First kick Syngenta and Ball in the a** and then begging them to sell your products. Crazy!

  32. Dummen is on a slippery slope here. For growers who serve the mass markets, this is the last thing we need. I think Dummen has forgotten that we as growers have choices. It is a dangerous move on their part.

  33. I doubt Dummen was the first to do this if they have proof show it. Our industry was built on trust and honesty. My advice. Dummen apoligize and retract this corrupt move. Maybe you can repair some of the damage. I dont grow alot of dummen plants but now will do less, probably non. My guess is that many growers will hold them accountable with there purchasing decisions.

  34. Since Dummen seems to have the corner on mixed unrooted cuttings in a single cell, I think I will patent the process of the placement of 3 mixed species rooted cuttings in a basket. Why go after just the big producers? I can collect fees and require licensing from every single greenhouse in the US that produces combo baskets. It’s the American way. Oh, that’s right, Dummen is a German company. Maybe I’ll just get a German utility patent on it, and leave the Americans alone.

  35. Not sure why everyone posting here is so upset about Dummen recieving the patent license. Sounds like alot of jealous people out there in this industry. I must say that this was an unbelievable move by Dummen and I congratulate them!!!

  36. Absolutely obsurd! We have been producing multi-species combos for the last 10 years! Where do they get off thinking they can do that? If it were a unique technical process, it might be different. It would be like trying to patent growing seeds in plugs rather than sowing directly into the pot.

  37. I do not agree with Dummen enforcing this utility patent this season. Product is already in production, orders booked and confirmed. I do think Dummen was smart in getting this utility patent for future seasons.

    I am shocked by the number of industry member comments refering to greed. Since when is making good profits, running a good business, and continually trying to improve your profits a negative!

  38. Jealousy is not a factor here. Despite whether or not customers will see a change in the cost of mixed species liners in 2011, we all know that this fee will eventually be passed along to the end growers in the future. Do you think Ball, Syngenta, and others, are going to absorb this cost themselves out of goodwill towards their customers? There is no way to prevent end growers from having to pay this extra licensing fee on top of the tag, royalties, and marketing fees in the future. This additional cost to multiple cutting liners will be for the futile purpose of filling Dummen’s fat pockets with money that will in no way add value or service to the growers in exchange. If anyone can explain the benefits that the growers will receive, or how this licensing fee will enhance the horticulture industry, I am sure all growers would like to know. At least there are known benefits to paying royalties and marketing fees, even though no one likes to pay them. Our industry is facing a crisis right now. Many little guys and mid-sized growers are being forced out of business. We need to help growers be more profitable, not take money out of their pockets for which they get nothing in return.

  39. I would like to Congratulate Dummen on this Patent.
    It shows a lot of integrity and hard work. This patent is well deserved. Way to go!

  40. Come on! Integegrity’s got nothing to do with it. It’s not a patentable idea. We were planting an assortment of different species in a jumbo pack years ago. It’s simply a differnt way of doing things.

  41. An interesting debate. The reality is that whether or not it’s a “patentable idea” falls directly under the perview of the US Patent Office. One of the great truths in business is that people usually want to sell based on Value, but buy based on Cost. Another truth is that the market has a way of sorting these things out.

  42. It is too easy to comment with such gusto anonymously, isn’t it?

    A little irony here, as I, too, am posting under a nom de plume, Anonymous.

  43. I would like to congradulate Dummen on receiving a patent for the Confetti multi-species liner. I know they put a tremendous amount of research into the development of the product. And for that they should be rewarded. The way I understand it, patents encourage innovation and our industry as well as any other industry should welcome innovation.From someone with experience growing the Confettis, we understand and appreciate the uniqueness and difficulty in producing this type of liner.

  44. Response to Mr. Barnitz: What research? This is the same trial and error process we as growers go through every day and we don’t apply for a patent. A new series, certainly! We have several combos that have taken several seasons to perfect,but we did not invent anything! This is marketing, not invention.

  45. How can a patent examiner approve this process when it has been going on for a while previously? I can’t believe this utility patent was granted! If it were a new concept, it makes sense, but it’s not a new concept.

  46. Dummen does not know it yet, but they have one heck of a problem coming up. They stole this idea from another grower who happens to have a patent on this techinque that is dated a year earlier, but has not been in pending status at the patent office. They can just forward the checks to this grower. Dummen can stop counting their royalty checks and get in touch with their lawyers quickly!

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